If you hate exams, which most people do, then we’ve got 10 quick tips that will help you ace any exam you come across. Taking you from the night before, to the moment just after, we’ve got you covered! Here are ten tips and tricks to help you pass your exams!

1. Get a good nights sleep

exam tips

If you’ve got an exam in the morning, this is even more important. But regardless of when in the day your exam is, make sure you get a good nights sleep beforehand. You’re much more alert and aware after a good rest. Plus, in a silent room where you are sat alone, being too tired can lead to falling asleep. Which is not what you want.

2. Drink water

exam tips

It’s important all the time, but having water and being properly hydrated can make or break exams. Our brains need to be functioning at their highest ability, and that means they need to be hydrated! Besides, otherwise, you risk getting a headache mid-exam and that’s less than ideal. Make sure to take water into your exam too, as a study showed that you’ll get 5% higher grades if you do!

3. Have a good breakfast

exam tips

If you’re the sort of person who never has time for breakfast, make time. Having a healthy breakfast that is filling can increase your cognitive abilities (memory, recall, etc.) by 20 to 40%. The best kind of breakfasts to have are anything that will slowly release energy – stuff like muesli, smoothies, toast (particularly wholemeal). Find more on what to eat before an exam to harness the most brain power.

4. Avoid caffeine

exam tips
Source: PR Newswire

We all have our vices, and a lot of us as students have a mild to moderate coffee or energy drink problem. But when it comes to exam day, try and avoid the caffeine. It counteracts your hydration because it’s a diuretic and so you lose water, and it also makes your brain release stress hormones – which we know you don’t need more of.

5. Get a good pen and hold it well

exam tips
Source: The New York Times

If you have an exam that is particularly heavy on the writing front, then getting a good pen is essential. Likewise, learning how best to hold it is too. Pens that write smoothly, won’t smudge, and are black (always use black pens for exams!) are a necessity. You also want it to be comfortable to hold, and need to make sure that you’re not holding it too tightly. Doing so can cause hand and elbow cramp. In the long term, it can also damage fingers and nails, leaving permanent bumps and indents!

6. Answer the easy questions first

exam tips

We’ve been told this since Year 9, but if you’ve still not tried it, it’s worth a go. By flicking through and answering the easy questions first, you leave all the big questions which require more brainpower for after your brain is warmed up. It also means that you can start thinking about the harder questions as you work through the others.

7. Circle/highlight action words

exam tips
Source: Lifewire

When reading questions, particularly essay ones, make sure you circle the words which are actually telling you to do something. There’ll be a lot of unnecessary jargon in there more often than not, so by circling the actual task words, you’ll understand it easier.

8. Essay plan

exam tips

If you have essay questions, make a quick plan. Ask for some scrap paper, or use the sides of the pages, whichever you are able to do. Jot down what you want to talk about in which sections, and what points you’re making. Otherwise, you run the risk of just incoherently brain dumping.

9. Wear a watch

exam tips

Watching the time in an exam is crucial. You need to know how much time you’ve got left at every moment. But it is also very easy to get distracted by looking up at the clock and then around the room, out the window, etc. So wear a watch. The clock will then be near you, you will save time by not needing to look away from your paper, and you won’t get distracted.

10. Just leave afterwards

exam tips
Source: Irish Times

The temptation to hang around with your friends after an exam and chat about it, compare answers and opinions, is huge. And whilst we can’t stop you, and it won’t damage your score, it is usually a bad idea. Sure, go get a coffee with your friends, but avoid talking about the exam! One of you will have missed a bit, answered wrong, or something along those lines, and you’ll all panic. Not worth it.

If you want more tips to help pass exams for before exam day, check out our top revision tricks!